Realizations of Living in a City

Alia McLaughlin headshot
Alia McLaughlin
May 10, 2024

Living in a different environment than what I’m used to, I find myself learning how to manage a bit of a balancing act. Through several instances,  I have learned the different tricks of managing a city such as honing the bus system and navigating the several streets.  If you are feeling apprehensive about living in a city area but still want to give it a go, I hope this blog will help settle some nerves you may feel. 

The city and its quirks take time to adjust!

Just like joining a new club, friend group, home, or college, the city takes some time to get used to! I found the biggest adjustment to be getting around and the general change in schedule. For example, public transportation is one adjustment I have a love-hate relationship with. While I love the environmentally friendly aspects, the bus can be very overwhelming with the number of people and the city's traffic!! When I need a break from the bus, I find a stop that's close to my destination and I walk there instead. Or, I opt to walk to the destination altogether, if it's not too far of a walk. As for my schedule, I eat super late (specific to Argentina) so I find myself having more meals or snacks in between. I also take to account the extra time needed to get to classes and plans with friends since buses aren’t always timely. All in all, I have learned the true value of patience, despite the fast-moving environment of a city. Also better yet, I have learned several times how to manage my time better so I can make it to my plans! 

Google Maps and Fanny Packs will be your best friend

Two things I did not realize were SO helpful: Google Maps and fanny packs. To start, Google Maps and apps like Moovit help to direct you to bus stops, and how to get to each destination through the transit system. It also works for underground transit systems. I have also used Google Maps for walking to unfamiliar places. However, the Google Maps application is not too reliable for providing information on when restaurants and places open and close. If you like to walk or run, I have also taken advantage of these hobbies to remember certain streets and my surroundings. Being aware of certain landmarks helps me to remember each bus stop, or a route I take for a run or to get to my favorite restaurant or cafe. I never used my fanny pack often (except for going out) before coming to Argentina. However, being in a city, fanny packs are convenient to keep your phone, money, keys, and such all in front of you.

Find small escapes, both physically and mentally

For me, the city and the amount of people can be overwhelming. As much as I love going out with friends, socializing, and meeting tons of new people, sometimes the overall environment of cars and tons of noises can be a lot. To help manage that, I like listening to music, doing art, reading at a park, or running! It especially helps when I can do it with another friend in a place away from all the traffic and tons of pedestrians. While it may take some time to find a place that is peaceful and best for you, small parks nearby or Costanera del Sur in Puerto Madero are nice escapes from the bustling of the city.  Anything that helps you to find a grounding place is key in an environment that is constantly moving!

Ask for help!

At times, it feels like you stick out like a sore thumb because you look lost, looking down at your Google Maps. Or if you’re like me, you accidentally use your bus card to try to scan into your school ID system (oops!). It happens to all of us. But, luckily, people here are generally really helpful. If I am unsure whether a bus will go somewhere (as buses with the same line number may not stop at the same place), I ask before scanning my SUBE. Also, I usually just try to follow where everyone else is going or simply ask for clarification. I also found many instances where people looked out for me, such as helping me with directions or letting me in line. As I got more adjusted to the city, I was also asked for directions to something or bus numbers, which made me feel like a local!!

Don't take yourself too seriously 

New experiences can be scary, but also fun. I have found my funny memories to be little misunderstandings, such as getting a bit lost in the bus systems with friends or learning the restaurant culture. As hard as it might be, try to embrace the silliness in learning the quirks of a new area. Experiences are always better with others, and if you're in a program like me or just meeting others, it's always nice to conquer these new experiences with people! Remember that you are not alone and everyone is figuring out the quirks of a city. Especially for a place such as Buenos Aires, things are always changing so the general population ebbs and flows with the movement each day as well. 

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Alia McLaughlin headshot

Alia McLaughlin

Hi! I'm Alia and I am from Park City, UT. I love meeting new people and hearing about their stories, yummy food, running, and learning new languages. I'm psyched to study abroad and I hope to continue these hobbies and try some new ones too!

2024 Spring
Home University:
St. Olaf College
Political Science
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